The Edge of the World

I created a map of the world I was writing about the last time I attempted to write this novel (although I think I actually mentioned that a good few times before). And what with the whole “starting again” thing I thought I’d start again with my map.

I’m far too lazy to re-draw the maps (took me freaking ages last time), but I am looking at it in a new light. For starters – what happens at the edge of the map?

The biggest issue there seems to be with fantasy worlds is that they just finish when the map does. I know that it might only show a bit of the world (LOTR-style), and therefore you don’t have to envision the whole lot, but I naturally made the naïve mistake of drawing a whole world… call me an idiot later.

So for a fantasy map, is there a section that says “here be monsters”, or can you sail around the world and end up in the same place you left? Which would you rather when you read a fantasy novel? I quite like the idea of having a big old edge to my world – but then what’s beyond it? A big waterfall going into space… but then that kind of reminds me of Pratchett’s giant turtle.

And then there’s the whole question of time to consider… after all, time for us is decided by rotations of the Earth. So if my world is flat, how does time move? And if it’s a globe, how fast does it turn? It kind of makes my brain hurt to take into these considerations – which is why I’m sort of tempted to just have “here be monsters” and leave it at that, but then I just know I will get asked about it (Law of Sod).

What do you think?


1 Comment

Filed under Writing, Writing Curves

One response to “The Edge of the World

  1. Saying “here be monsters” works, so does randomly naming the continents as well as different mountain ranges or rivers or whatever throughout the world. It will give your worldbuilding the illusion of being more comprehensive than it really is.

    If you’ve never read it, check out David Eddings Belgariad (5 book series, first book is The Pawn of Prophecy). Throughout the entire series, he makes passing references to a lot of different cultural customs and vague references to the history of the world. I have no idea if he actually worldbuilt everything that he mentions, but he never discusses it. Just throwing in a passing reference makes the world seem deeper and more realistic. If your characters interact with everything that is listed on the map, it seems really contrived and forced as opposed to natural.

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